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Environmental and socio-economic impacts of sand harvesting on the community in river kivou catchment, Mwingi sub county, Kitui County, Kenya


Academic year: 2020

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Environmental and socio-economic
























This thesis is my original work and has not been presented for a degree in any other university. No part of this thesis may bereproduced without prior permission from the author and lor Kenyatta University.









-Patricia Mumbi Wambua Date


We confirm that the work reported In this thesis was carried out by the candidate under our supervision.










-Dr. Richard Kerich Date

Department of Environmental Education School of Environmental Studies Kenyatta University

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----Dr. James N. Maraga Date



To the Almighty God, for giving me the strength and sufficient grace this far. Blessed be his holy name. To my loving parents, Mzee Wambua Nguta (late) andMama Ruth Kanindi; I share this work with you all for always encouraging me to achieve my goals, for having unwavering confidence in my abilities, even during challenging times, for providing seemingly infinite compassion and support from which I too often drew, and perhaps most significantly, for instilling in me the values to always work hard, nurture, and have a life-long respect for the local environment and nature. To my beloved husband Nicholas, our loving children: Moses, David and Amy. I thank you all for your love, support and patience during the entire process of this study.



The completion of this work has been made possible through the assistance and cooperation of several people.I wish to acknowledge Dr. R. K. Kerich and Dr. J. N. Maraga my supervisors for their guidance and moral support throughout my study, whose experiences and insights provided the substance of this research. I salute them for their wealth of knowledge in the field of environmental science, which is exceptional and was invaluable to this study. Secondly, I acknowledge the following persons for advice and assistance in course of my study: Edwin Kiria and Festus Mutiso .I acknowledge and appreciate the staff of Environmental Studies for laying my foundation in my area of study. Finally, I wish to acknowledge the support and responses given by respondents in my area of study, Kivou catchment, Mwingi Sub County, Kitui County, without whom this work would not have been accomplished. I wish to say to all who were involved in this study in one way or another and are not mentioned here, thank you very much.

God bless you all.













1.0Introduction 1

.1.1 Background tothe Study : 1

1.2Problem Statement 3

1.3Research Questions 4

1.4 Research Objectives 4

1.4.1 Specific objectives 4

I' 1.5 Justification and Significance of the Study 5

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study 6

1.7Theoretical Resource Conservation Model... 7


2.1 Introduction 8

2.2 Sand harvesting in the world 8

2.3 Sand harvesting inAfrica 9


2.4.1 Environmental Considerations; 11

2.4.2 Social Considerations 12

2.4.3 Economic impacts of sand harvesting 14

2.5 Environmental Impacts of Sand Harvesting 17

2.5.1 Aquatic and riparian habitats 21

2.5.2 Drying of river banks and water aquifers 22

2.5.3 Air pollution 25

2.5.4 Land Degradation and Vegetation Effects 26

2.6 Social impacts of sand harvesting 29

2.6.1 Health impacts of sand harvesting : 30

2.6.2 Conflict due to sand harvesting 31

2.6.3 Drug and substance abuses 32

2.7 Stakeholder involvement and community participation in sand harvesting 32

2.8 Summary of Literature 35


3.1 Introduction 36

3.2 Study Area 36

3.2.1 Location 36

3.2.2 Climate and agro-ecological zones 37

3.2.3 Physiographic and Natural Conditions 38

3.2.4 Soils 38

3.2.5 Settlement Patterns 38

3.2.6 Vegetation 39

3.2.7 Livestock Production 39


3.3 Research Design 40

3.3.1 Unit of Analysis , 40

3.3.2 Units of Observation 41

3.4 Sample Size and Sampling procedure 41

3.4.1 Study Population 41

3.5. Data collection 43

3.5.1 Pre-testing the Research Instruments 43

3.5.2 Interview schedule 43

3.5.3 Questionnaire 44

3.5.4Observations 44

3.5..5 Focus Group Discussion 45

3.6 Data Analysis and Presentation ~ , 46


4.1. Introduction 47

4.2. Respondents demographic characteristics .47

4.2.1 Age of therespondents 47

4.2.2 Gender of the Respondents ...•... 47

4.2.3 Marital status of the Respondents 48

4.2.3 Level of Education 49

4.2.4 Occupation andEmployment Status 50

4.2.5 Daily Earnings 51

4.3 Environmental Impacts of Sand Harvesting 52

4.4 Socialimpacts of Sand harvesting 59

4.5Economic impacts of Sand Harvesting on Local Households 63



5.1 Conclusions 70

5.2 Recommendations 71

5.3Further Research 73



Appendix 1:Questionnaires for the Households ...•... 92

Appendix 2: Questionnaire II for Focus Group Discussion 97



Table 3.1: Study sample size 42

Table 4.1: Daily earnings of laborers in various sites 52

Table 4.2: Environmental impacts of sand harvesting 54

Table 4.3: Social impacts of sand harvesting 60



Figure 1.1: Modified conceptual model for sand harvesting planning 7 Figure 3.1:The study area, Kivou Catchment in Mwingi, Kitui County 37 Figure 4.1: Gender status of the respondents in the study sites 48

Figure 4.2: Marital status of the respondents in the study sites 49

Figure 4.3: Level of Education of the Respondents 50

Figure 4.4: Occupation and Employment Status of the Respondents 51 Figure 4.5: Degraded river banks and collapsing river banks due to sand harvesting

along river Kivou 53

Figure 4.6: Sand stockpiles on the riverbanks within the study sites 55 Figure 4.7: Water contamination by moving trunks where oils are spilled on the sand.

... 55 Figure 4.8: Locals fetching water for domestic use and livestock drinking water from the wells dung in the contaminated river bed, while at the far end the area District Commissioner assesses the damage done by the lorries which fetch sand in the middle

of the river bank 57

Figure 4.9: Local leaders assessing the environmental damage brought about by sand harvesting in the area:... 58 Figure 4.10:Riverbank degradation due to sand harvesting 58

Figure 4.11: A District Commissioner (DC) addressing a public meeting aimed at resolving conflicts arising from sand harvesting in the study sites... 60 Figure 4.12: Tyaa bridge which has its foundation exposed due to sand harvesting in

Kanginga study site. . ~ 61

Figure 4.13: NEMA and local administration awareness exercise in the study site 62

Figure 4.14: Participatory and stake holders involvement in sand harvesting

awareness baraza... 63

Figure 4.15: Participatory and Stakeholders' involvement in sand harvesting 68



Governance can be defined as the body of rules, enforcement mechanisms and corresponding interactive processes that coordinate the activities of the involved persons with regard to a concerted outcome (Huppertet aI., 2001)

Catchment area- refers to an area that is within the 5 km radius from the river. National sand harvesting guidelines- refers to the guidelines that have been provided by the Kenya government through her environment lead agency, NEMA

Technical sand harvesting committee- Refers to a group technical department mandated to oversee sand harvesting activities in an area as provided by the sand harvesting guidelines.

Natural resource management refers to the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil, plants and animals, with a particular focus on how management

affects the quality of life for both present andfuture generations, (Kellert et aI., 2000). Natural resources are not just valuable economic resources; they are also political and social resources. At alllevels, local, national and international, actors compete to gain access, control and benefit from natural resources.

Sand is defined as a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.

Sustainability refers to simultaneous pursuit of sustained or enhanced environmental quality, economic growth, and social justice.


Guidelines, (2007) define the practice as the removal, extraction, harvesting or

scooping of sand from designated sites.

Channel - A natural or artificial waterway that periodically or continuously contains

moving water, has a definite bed, and has banks that serve to confine water at low to

moderate stream flows.

Baraza- an organized public gathering.

Channel Incision - A result of down-cutting into the substrate.

Descriptive research design -is a type of research method that is used when one

wants to get information on the current status of a person or an object .It is used to describe what is in existence in respect to conditions or variables that are found ina

given situation.

Descriptive survey -The systematic, rigorous investigation of a situation or problem v,

in order to generate new knowledge or validate existing knowledge.

Stakeholder -Is anybody who can affect or is affected by a project.

Sand dam- is a small dam which is built on and into the riverbed of a seasonal river

in order to help in water recharge.

Participatory -providing the opportunity for people to be involved in deciding how

something is done.

Community - a group of people who live in the same area and who have the same


Biodiversity - Range of living species, including fish, insects, invertebrates, reptiles,

birds, mammals, plants, fungi and even micro-organisms

Public Involvement - A variety of interactions between the public sand harvesting

groups that range from surveys, focus groups, feedback on discussion documents,


Surveys - A survey, also called questionnaires, isamethod of primary data collection based on communication with a representative sample of individuals. Surveys are

usually descriptive in nature, yet can also be used to provide casual explanations or

explore ideas.

Sustainable sand harvesting - an integrated system of sand harvesting practices

which have a site-specific application that will last over the long term and that does

not harm the environment for future generations use.

Training needs - these are skill requirements or needs for all stakeholders involved in

any activity.

Social impacts -the social consequences that are likely to follow from specific policy





Analysis of Variance District Commissioner District Environment Officer Duncan's Multiple Range Test

District Sand Harvesting Technical Committee

District Officer

Focused group discussions Government of Kenya

National Environment Management Authority Riparian Resource Owners

River sand harvesting Kenya Shillings





1.0 Introduction

This chapter focuses on background to the Study, problem statement, research

questions ,objectives of the study which were divided into the main objective and specific objectives. It equally covers the significance of the study and the definition of termsused in the study and the conceptual framework that was applied.

1.1 Background to the Study

Sand means sedimentary material finer than gravel and coarser than silt with grains

between 0.06mm and 2mm in diameter (Langer, 2003).The places of sand occurrence

are oceans, rivers, streams, flood plains or hills and mountains (Kondolf, et al.,2008). Sand harvesting refers to the actual process of removal of sand from a place of its

occurrence (Nema, 20(4).Sand harvesting is a worldwide activity in both developed

and developing countries (Draggan and Kondolf, 2008).The leading nations in sand

harvesting are United States of America, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, India, Spain, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa (Draggan, 2008). In Kenya sand harvesting is

practiced in counties proximate to major urban centers (Macharia 2004). Previous

studies reveal that sand harvesting causes soil degradation and loss of biodiversity. Effects are intense on oceans, rivers, streams, flood plains, hills and mountains.

(Byrnes et.al, 2000) Sand harvesting evidently causes community conflicts in absence

of a regulatory policy (Ross 2001).The study sought to investigate the environmental

and socio-economic impacts of sand harvesting on communities and determine the level of local community's participation in the sand harvesting process. This study

was conducted in river Kivou catchment, Mwingi Central sub county, Kitui County


Sand represents the main source of construction material used throughout the world

(Erskine and Green, 2000). According to Makweba and Ndonde (1996), operations of

sand harvesting, whether small or large-scale, are inherently disruptive to the environment. Sand harvesting frequently generates land use conflicts in populated areas due to its negative effects including noise, dust, truck traffic, water pollution and

visually unpleasant landscapes (Willis and Garrod, 1999). It can also represent a

conflict with competing land uses such as farming, especially in areas where

high-value farmland is scarce and where post-sand harvesting restoration may not be

feasible. As pointed out by social and environmental activists there are potential

linkages between resources and conflict and consequential underdevelopment (Ross,

2001). Sand harvesting can cause changes to channel morphology in rivers through

the lowering of the riverbed during extraction (Rinaldi et al., 2005).

Further, previous studies (Kondolf, 1998; Langer, 2003; Kondolf et al., 2008) show

that sand harvesting can reduce water quality as well as degrade the river channel bed

and banks. The harvesting of sand on the floodplain can affect the water table and

alter the land-use (Langer, 2003).

Despite widespread occurrence and potential impact on the environment including

agricultural lands, sand harvesting has received little attention in terms of research.

Even though some studies have informed the local communities on the positive as

well as negative impacts of sand harvesting, attention usually seems to be focused on

sand harvesting along riverbanks and is seldom considered in the context of

farms/cultivated lands. Mutisya (2006) argues that rapidly growing populations in

urban areas have contributed to an unprecedented demand for sand to meet the

ever-rising needs of the building and construction industry. To meet this demand, sand


harvesters have invaded seasonal rivers in Kenya's arid and semi-arid areas, particularly those neighboring urban centres,

1.2 Problem Statement

Sand harvesting is a worldwide activity in both developed and developing countries. The leading nations in sand harvesting are United States of America, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, India, Spain, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. In Kenya sand harvesting is practiced in counties proximate to major urban centers such as Machakos, Makueni, Kajiado and Kitui among others. Kivou catchment which isthe study area is one of the renowned areas in Mwingi Sub County, Kitui County, with extensive commercial sand harvesting. It is a commercial activity that has continued to be practiced amidst the rapidly growing populations in urban areas and upcoming construction industry. This has largely contributed to an unprecedented demand for sand to meet the ever-rising needs of the building and construction industry. Consequently, this has led to land degradation, loss of agricultural lands and biodiversity, destruction of underground aquifers and los8 of safe water especially in sites where overharvesting has been done.

The above mentioned unsustainable human activities usually have a negative effect on the environment and the socio-economic aspects. The environmental impacts are long


-economic challenges in order to come up with ways of striking an efficient balance

between sand harvesting for development and environmental conservation.

1.3 Research Questions

The researcher was guided by the following questions while conducting the study.

i) What are the environmental impacts of sand harvesting in River Kivou and its catchment?

ii) What' are the socio-economic impacts of sand harvesting on local


iii) What is the level of stakeholders' involvement in thesand harvesting process? \~•.•.

1.4Research Objectives

The main objective of the study was to investigate the environmental and

socio-economic impacts of sand harvesting on communities in River Kivou catchment, Mwingi central sub county, Kitui County.

1.4.1 Specific objectives

The studywas guided by the following specific objectives

i) Identify the environmental impacts of sand harvesting in River Kivou and its catchment.

ii) Determine the socio-economic impacts of sand harvesting on local

communities of River Kivou catchment.


1.5 Justification and Significance of the Study

There is limited research undertaken in the sector of sand harvesting in Kenya, thus

the rationalization of this study. River Kivou catchment is in Kivou ward, Mwingi sub

county, Kitui County. The catchment area further constituted of seven active sites

where sand harvesting was taking place at the time of the study. The sites were:

Mwania, Kwa Nduuthi, Kivou, Ndalani, Mangoloma, Kesu and Kanginga sites. The

sites were selected because sand harvesting is .rarnpant in the sites and a lot of

complains are received regarding the impacts of the activities (Nema, 2009). This

study therefore came up with adequate recommendations on sustainable sand

harvesting, considered appropriate for the study area, and the process is expected to

be replicated in other areas that practices sand harvesting. The policy and regulatory

framework, proposed in'this study should guide in sustainable exploitation of sand;

which will hopefully increase employment opportunities for the locals, reduce crime

rates, increase revenue collections for the local county councils, increase funding for

community-based projects and reduce conflicts within the various actors in this

industry. It would also form a good basis for future research in this field. This studyis

significant in that the society and the academia world are bound to gain in the


ways:-Knowledge gap - There is limited research undertaken III the sector of sand

.harvesting in Kenya, thus rationalization of this study.

Policy makers - Provides guidelines on mainstreaming sustainable sand harvesting in

rural development, enhancing environmental conservation and maximizing on the

economic gains.

Students of natural resources- It broadens their knowledge in sand harvesting and


University Lecturers - Provides University Lecturers with information

Society - it provides information on how to sustainably harness resources within their


Sociologists - It points out the social challenges that would be witnessed with the start

of sand harvesting in their in the rural areas.

Environmentalist - it Provides knowledge in management of environmental

challengesposed by sand harvesting in river Kivou catchment.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

The project was undertaken for a period of eight months (8) and proposed a

sustainable governance structure, for sand harvesting in the study area. Among other

issues that were studied, include impacts of sand harvesting on the environment, level

of stakeholder involvement and the socio-economic impacts of the sand harvesting

exercise as well as socio-economic profiles of the people in the study area, physical

and environmental structures.

The major limitations- encountered during the study included limited past data in

which to compare the present status of sand harvesting, there was limited research

doneon this area in Kenya and also the study was made difficult by the geographical

hardships of study area and the scattered settlements/research units and this had

impact on the sampling design. Nevertheless, the research was successful and very


1.7 Theoretical Resource Conservation Model.


Soil erosion, Land degradation . Resource Conflicts, School dropout ....

.Poverty ...

Figure 1.1: Modified conceptual model for sand harvesting planning




Method of harvesting Location

Qual ity/quantity

Source: Sanderson et al 2001.

Well Conserved Environment and

Socio-economic Secure Community

Sustainable sand harvesting, Benefit sharing, Stakeholder involvement community participation, Adherence to policies and



2.1 Introduction

This chapter covers a review of various issues, texts and other publications considered

to be relevant to this study. Topics reviewed included: economic impacts of sand

harvesting, environmental impacts of sand harvesting, social impacts of sand

harvesting and stakeholder involvement and participation in sand harvesting in River

Kivou catchment, Mwingi central sub county, Kitui County.

2.2 Sand harvesting in the world

Sand harvesting is a worldwide activity in both developed and developing countries as

was realized by Draggan (2008). Industrial sand is produced, processed and used in

construction industry all over the world. The leading nations in harvesting and

processing of sand are United States of America, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,

India, Spain, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. As a cheap and readily accessible

resource many companies are involved in its harvesting both legally and illegally

without considering the damage they are causing to the environment (Draggan, 2008).

A publication by Schaetzl (1990) showed that historically, from 1920s many states in

USA relied on harvesting of sand for road and cement aggregate. The uses had

doubled by 2008 to date. Sand is harvested more than all other minerals in most States

in America. According to Draggan (2008), USA is the largest producer and consumer

of sand in the world as well as the leading exporter of silica sand to every region of

the world. This is because it has extensive high quality deposits of the resource

combined with technology to process it into any product. Construction sand is produced in all fifty states. The highest producers are California, Texas, Michigan,

Minnesota, Ohio, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Washington. They all produce about


52% of total amount of construction sand. More than a billion tonnes of sand and

gravel are produced and used annually. Due to high demand in these States, some

sand is still imported from Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and Australia (Draggan, 2008).

2.3 Sand harvesting in Africa

There is a great concern on the way the environment is disturbed by excessive

removal of sand for construction industry especially in urban development in Africa.

Mwangi (2008) noted that for thousands of years, sand has been used to construct

strong houses, roads and dams in Africa since they are cheap and readily accessible

resources. Today demand has increased as socio-economic life of Africans has

improved generally. Sand harvesting is common in most African states but done both

legally and illegally.

LawaI (2011) examined sand harvesting activities both on land and in rivers as a

business venture in Minna Emirate Council of Niger State. Stakeholders from the

harvesting activities were listed as landowners of quarry sites who sold the sand to

private and government contractors. Local government authorities and Niger State

where quarries are located were also listed as beneficiaries. The activities also involve

farmers, whose cultivating and grazing lands are destroyed, wildlife community

whose habitats are harvesting areas, aquatic community members as well as

harvesters themselves. Aromolaran (2012) carried out a study to examine effects of

sand harvesting activities on rural people living on agricultural land in Ogun State,

Nigeria. Many people supported the good uses of sand but the negative impacts on

their land were more than the benefits. LawaI (2011) highlighted that sand mining is


Nigeria's industry and construction sectors. The harvesting is done both legally and

illegally leading to environmental devaluation.

Astudyby the Times ofIndia (2012) found that Sand harvesting in India is adversely

affecting the Rivers, sea, forests & environment. Illegal harvesting of Sand and the

lack of governance, in a big way is causing land degradation and threatened itsrivers

with extinction. Harvesting of sand, for instance, is depleting the waters of therivers.

Weak governance and rampant corruption are facilitating uncontrolled and illegal

harvesting of sand and gravel in the rivers, threatening their very existence. This

unrestrained and unregulated activity is posing threats of widespread depletion of

water resources which may lead to avoidable food shortages and hardships for the

people. Despite numerous prohibitions and regulations, sand harvesting continues

rapidlyon the riverbed of the Bharathapuzha.

2.4 Sand harvesting in Kenya

Mwangi (2007) discussed sand harvesting as a threat to the environment in Kenya

though with both positive and negative impacts. The sand harvesting is done legally

and illegally on rivers, beaches and plain fields. Wachira (2009) supported Mwangi

byreporting on a case study survey on sand harvesting in Machakos Districtof Kenya

which is increasing due to the need for sand in construction industry. The survey

showed that approximately two hundred thousand tonnes of sand are harvested for

construction every year. Streams around Machakos, Makueni and Mwingi and

counties are seriously damaged as trucks transporting sand pass along Mombasa and

Thika highways. The trucks pass at intervals of five every half an hour. The

government had to task the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)


then Eastern Province, Mwangi (2007). These Guidelines here in referred to National

sand harvesting guidelines, 2007; are to apply to all sand harvesting activities in

Kenya. This will ensure sustainable utilization of the sand resource and proper

management of the environment. The guide lines recommends further the formation

of a Technical Sand Harvesting Committee (TSHC) which has various responsibilities

,e.g., Be responsible for the proper and sustainable management of sand harvesting

within the area in respect of which it is appointed, be responsible for the designation

of authorized sand harvesting sites on riverbeds, lakeshores, seashores, farms,

Government or Trust land, subject to the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya,

Government Land Act, Trust land Act and Mining Act, Forest Act and any other

relevant legislations, and define the extent of each Riparian Resource Management

Association's (RRMA) area of operation and perform any functions as may be

prescribed by the District Environment Committee (DEC) and the Technical Sand

Harvesting Committee and whose operations will be guided by the following

environmental and social considerations:

2.4.1 Environmental Considerations;

The Technical Sand Harvesting Committee will ensure that:

a. Sand dam(s)/ gabion(s) are constructed in designated sand harvesting sites;

b. Where more than one sand dam/ gabion is to be constructed, they shall be at

most 200 metres apart;

c. Lorries will use designated access roads only to sand harvesting sites;

d. Designated sand harvesting sites are rehabilitated appropriately by the


dealer under close monitoring and supervision by the Technical Sand

Harvesting Committee in compliance with EMCA, 1999;

e. Sand harvesting or scooping is restricted to the riverbeds with no harvesting

allowed on riverbanks to avoid widening of rivers;

f. It specifies the area of sand harvesting and the depth to which the harvesting

will be done.

g. The requirements of an environmental impact assessment/environmental audit

pursuant to the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act No.8 of

1999 have been fulfilled.

2.4.2 Social Considerations

The Technical Sand Harvesting Committee will ensure that:

a. Sand loaders are over 18 years of age residing within the local community.

b. Approved sand dealers will pay a negotiated and agreed wage to sand loaders.

c. The loaders will organize themselves into recognized groups with clear

operational structures for their self-regulation. The Riparian Resource

Management Association will oversee the operations of the loaders.

d. Approved sand dealers are encouraged to support local community projects in

consultation with the Riparian Resource Management Association.

e. Subject to the Local Government Act, local authorities are encouraged to

invest proceeds of sand cess in environmental conservation activities and local

community projects in the District (National sand harvesting guidelines,

2007). Further in Kenya sand harvesting, isa sub-sector that is labor intensive

and therefore has great potential to generate employment at local levels


(2010), through National Minerals and Mining policy, stipulates that artisanal

and small-scale harvesters (ASH) contribute significantly to the creation of

mineral wealth, but there is however, need to mainstream the operations of

ASH in order to address the challenges they face.

According to PEN, 2009, approximately 175,484 tonnes of sand are harvested yearly

inthegreater Machakos district with very little income earned being ploughed back to

the local area for development. Further, they insinuate that the practice of

irresponsible and unsustainable sand harvesting has caused environmental destruction

and devastated scenery.

Further a baseline study carried out byPEN in 2009, showed that sand harvesting is a

major concern in the greater lower eastern region of former eastern province. Most of

the sand used for construction, especially in Nairobi and the surrounding satellite

towns is harvested from Ukambani, mainly in the Mwingi, Makueni, Makindu,

Kilome, Machakos, Mwala, Yatta, Kangundo and Masinga. The sand harvesting

business is booming due to the growing demand in the construction industry. As a

result, streams around Mwingi, Machakos, Kangundo, Kathiani, and Mwala are badly

affected. Even though, the demand for this raw material in the building and

construction industries is bound to increase with the proposal to upgrade Nairobi into


NEMA, 2013, advocates for sustainable sand harvesting. Unsustainable scooping of

sand causes soil erosion, negatively impacts biodiversity, changes river courses

making the flow of rivers a problem. Sand harvesting also leads to loss of water for


2.4.3 Economic impacts of sand harvesting

Sand had been a useful natural resource for thousands of years worldwide and is

fundamental to human existence. Today, demand for sand has increased. Harvesting

operators in conjunction with resource agencies need to work hard and make sure the

extraction is done responsibly. Schaetzl (1990) discussed sand as crucial resources to

economic development activities when making aggregate in United States of

America.Development is a process of adding improvements to a piece of land such as

grading, drainage and access roads. Schaetzl defined aggregate as a substance made from several materials such as river sand and gravel. Pit sand is mixed with cement to

form concrete, mortar and plaster for construction of strong structures. Aggregate is

used to make road bases and coverings, concrete products and shoreline protection.

Harvesting of sand had been done for road and cement aggregate for centuries

worldwide. According to Draggan (2008), 50% of sand harvested in USA is used in

construction to make concrete for roads, durable bricks, blocks, pipes construction fill

and sometimes mixed with asphalt. In industry, 39% sand is used to make glass, 22%

as foundry sand, and 5% as abrasive sand while 34% is for other uses.

Sand harvesting represents the main source of construction material used throughout

the world, with examples from Australia (Erskine & Green, 2000), France (Petit,

Poinsart & Bravard, 1996), Italy (Surian & Rinaldi, 2003), the USA (Kondolf, 1994),

Belgium (Gob, Houbrechts, Hiver & Petir, 2005) and Britain (Sear & Archer, 1998).

Sand is indispensable for many economic development activities such as road

building and concrete production. It also has other uses such as in glass making for

window panes, glassware, glazing for pottery, lenses, television tubes, mirrors, fibre glass reinforcement, lamps, stained glass art, lasers, insulators, telescopes, bottles and

containers for alcohol, soft drinks, and food items like jams, pickles (USGS, 2011). It


is also used in several concealed ways such as hydraulic fracturing applications

(Scienceviews.com, 2003-2010), in the making of semi-conductors that are used in

almost every electronic device today ranging from notebooks to mobile phones and

even in cars.

Sand is also a source for strategic minerals such as Silica, Garnets, Thorium and ores

such as Titanium, Uranium, Zirconium and Ilmenite. Nonetheless, two examples can

be given to illustrate the breadth of use:

a) Titanium is used in 'Production of lightweight alloys, aircraft components Get

engines, aircraft frames); automotive components, joint replacement (hips ball

and sockets), paints, watches, chemical processing equipment, marine equipment

rigging and other parts exposed to sea water), pulp and paper processing

equipment, pipes and jewellery (lIED and WBCSD, 2002).

b) Heavy Minerals such as Rutile, Sillimanite and Monazite are also sourced from


Sand harvesting has also led to improved economic gains in all areas where it's done.

In the case of Togo for instance, the sand harvesting industry, and associated other

transport and related service industries have had an important role in the local

economy for many years. On Togo's national basis, sand harvesting has traditionally

,-been probably second only to agriculture as a source of rural employment. The

harvesting of sand in Togo has created jobs for youths. Social and economic

parameters that can improve social conditions (such as income and local revenue

generation), this revenue is used in most part to meet the basic needs of the family

including food, to pay tuition for children and even for entertainment (Ayenagbo et


Sand harvesting sites employ a large number of the youths and other casual people

who sell food stuffs to the harvesters. Sand harvesting has contributed significantly to

the economic development in areas where it's done through the creation of

employment opportunities, creation of local supply of raw materials for industry,

generation of export revenues and alleviation of poverty (Ayenagbo et al., 2011).

There is creation of employment for families at harvesting sites in Indian regions

(Saviour, 2012). Lawal (2011) noted that by year 2001 alone, a total of seven

thousand, one hundred and thirty one sand harvesters had been employed in Nigeria's

Niger State alone, according to statistics provided by Mine Safety and Health

Administration. Mwangi (2007) supported this positive impact of sand harvesting in

Kenya when he highlighted that there is creation of employment to locals above

eighteen years as manual loaders at harvesting sites. In Botswana, Mbaiwa (2008)

realized the same impact of employment creation to youth, both citizens and

non-citizens seasonally at harvesting and construction sites to load tipper trucks. While in

Zimbabwe, Lupande (2012) noted creation ofemployment foryouth who are licensed

to harvest sand and some to load the trucks as a positive impact of harvesting.

Harvesting activities brought wealth to Indian communities (Saviour, 2012). Sand

harvesting activities generate revenue and income to local governments and land

owners in Africa's developing nations which reduce poverty. This was noted by

LawaI (2011) in Niger State of Nigeria where financial benefits from sand harvesting

work shows that local government earn about eight percent of total profits from

business while the harvesters gets about ninety two percent of Accrued revenue.

Kenyan local government also benefits from sand harvesting as highlighted by


2.5 Environmental Impacts of Sand Harvesting

Bagchi (2010) discussed environmental land and surface degradation as a serious

impact of sand harvesting on Indian rivers. There is damage to river banks and

general ecosystems due to access ramps to riverbed. Soil erosion occurs as there is

disturbance of groundwater and changes in river courses. Continuous removal of sand

from river bed increases velocity of flowing water which erodes beds and banks.

Kondolf (2007) noted that as the velocity increases, the river bed can propagate both

upstream and downstream for many kilometers. This can lower alluvial water tables.

Stebbins (2006) added that in stream sand harvesting causes destruction of aquatic

and riparian habitat through large changes in channel morphology, lowered water

table, instability and sedimentation at harvesting sites due to stock piling and dumping

of excess harvesting materials. Sand harvesting also poses a threat to critical

infrastructure such as bridges, roads, railway tracks (Kondolf et al., 2001).

Environmental problems due to sand harvesting occur when the rate of extraction of

sand exceeds the rate at which natural processes generate and replenish it. Sand

harvesting has several negative impacts. It poses a threat to water security in several

ways. Dredging results in lowering of the alluvial water table which, in turn, directly

affects groundwater storage capacity (Kondolf et al., 2001). Excessive dredging

allows for saline intrusion into groundwater (Viswanathan, 2002). The lowered water

table implies a rise in water costs, thus restricting access to onlythose who canafford

it (Hoering, 2008). It results in habitat loss including destruction and fragmentation of

fragile, endangered ecosystems and reduced species richness (Myers, 1999, Global


Sand harvesting also causes increased shoreline erosion rates, especially when


water especially during ocean disasters (Myers, 1999). It also poses a threat tocritical

infrastructure such as bridges, roads and railway tracks (Kondolf et al., 2001). Sand

harvesting has also been known to cause loss of livelihoods in several instances

(Hoering, 2008, Young and Griffith, 2009 and Viswanathan, 2002). Other

macroeconomic impacts have also been observed such as changes in land use patterns

(Myers, 1999) and increased public health costs (Myers and Muhajir 1997, Mensah,

1997). The morphologies of the harvesting areas have demonstrated the impact of

sand harvesting with the prowess to destroy the cycle of ecosystems. Numerous

publications have been written with respect to these effects, and the next step iswhat

to do to minimize, prevent or correct these environmental effects; the so called

mitigating measures (Pielou, 1966).

In 1991, Ghana, for instance, adopted a National Environmental Policy for "ensuring

a sound management of sand resources and the environment, and to avoid any

exploitation of these resource in a manner that might cause irreparable damage to the

environment" (Ebenezer, 1991). Harvesting of sand represents the main source of

construction material used throughout the world (Erskine and Green, 2000).

According to Makweba and Ndonde (1996), operations of sand harvesting, whether

small or large-scale, are inherently disruptive to the environment. Prospecting,

extracting, and transporting sand have great potential for disrupting the natural

environment (Rabie et al., 1994).

Although sand harvesting provides a variety of socio-economic benefits, its

environmental and social costs, if not well handled, can be massive in terms of land

conversion and degradation, habitat alteration and water and air pollution. Sand


causes such damage to the biodiversity as well as catastrophically resulting into

pollution, introduction of alien species, over-harvesting of natural resources and

destruction of habitats (Roda, 2008). For example, human activities that accelerate

stream bank erosion such as riparian forest clearing or in stream sand harvesting,

cause stream banks to become net sources of sediment that often have severe

consequences for aquatic species (Newellet al., 1999).

Channel instability and sedimentation from in-stream harvesting can also damage

public infrastructure (bridges, pipelines, and utility lines). Impacts to the biological

resources include removal of infauna, epifauna, and some benthic fishes andalteration

of the available substrate. This process can also destroy riverine vegetation, cause

erosion, pollute water sources and reduce the diversity of animals supported by these

woodlands habitats (Byrnes and Hiland, 1995).

Even if the habitats are not directly removed by harvesting, changes to ground water

or surface water has caused some habitats to dry out and others have become flooded

(Dubois and Towle, 1985). Environmental impacts to river systems where in stream

sand harvesting has been improperly managed have been described by Collins and

Dunne (1990); Kanehl and Lyons (1998); Kondolf (1997); Florsheim (1998) and

Naiman et.al., (1998) as a major source of environmental impacts which are and not

limited to: channel modifications such as widening or deepening the channel, creation

ofdeep pools, loss of ruffles, alteration of bed load, alteration of channel flow, and

degraded aesthetics, upstream and downstream erosion and related impacts.

Other impacts include: modification of aquatic habitats including spawning beds

nursery habitat, shell fish habitat and riparian habitat, degradation of water quality


re-suspension of organic or toxic materials; bridge scour and other impacts to

infrastructure. The bridge scours (erosion of river beds at bridge foundations) isdue in

part to in-stream sand harvesting and in part to channelization of the river (Langer,

2003) in that the foundations that are supposed to remain under the riverbed.are now

exposed. The principal cause of environmental impacts from in stream harvesting is

the modification of channel characteristics especially the removal of more material

than the system can naturally replenish or the combined result of many small but

intensive operations (Rowan and Kitetu 1998).

Theremoval of sand from a stream creates a change in the cross section ofthe stream.

Removing sand may causes an increased gradient at the site of extraction. Increasing

the gradient of the stream may cause upstream incision. Removing sand from streams,

particularly reaches of streams that are eroding or down cutting may cause a decrease

in bed load. For example, human activities that accelerate stream bank erosion, such

as riparian forest clearing or in-stream harvesting, cause stream banks to become net

sources of sediment that often have severe consequences for aquatic species (Newell

et al., 1999). Meador and Layher (1998) have summarized the impacts of improper

in-stream sand harvesting on aquatic habitat as erosion leading to bank failure, which

can cause loss of riparian habitat and loss of shade along the stream banks.It can also

result in channel bed hardening destabilization of spawning gravel and nursery

habitat, degradation of stream fisheries, increases in suspended sediment load lowering of alluvial water tablesandstagnant low flows. (Waters, 1995).

An extensive further review of literature reveals that indiscriminate extraction of river

sand can result in serious offsite and onsite impacts, leading to changes in channel


Removal of sand results in destruction of underground aquifers and loss of safe water. Sand scooping adversely affects surface water quality and quantity and damages the

aquatic ecosystem. Transportation of sand by heavy trucks causes environmental

degradation by accelerating soil erosion and affecting soil stability. Storage of sand

causes destruction of surface areas through clearing of vegetation and uses land that

could be used for agriculture. A significant decrease in bed load can cause

downstream incision, Suspension of organic or toxic materials; bridge scour and other

impacts to infrastructure. Noise generated from traffic movements to and from the

sand harvesting sites is a great nuisance to the riparian communities (Andoh, 2002).

Apart from threatening bridges, sand harvesting transforms the riverbeds into large

and deep pits; as a result, the groundwater table drops leaving the drinking water

wells on the embankments of these rivers dry. Bed degradation from in-stream

harvesting lowers the elevation of stream flow andthefloodplain water tablewhich in

turn can eliminate flow depth and a bar skimming operation increases flow width.

Both conditions produce slower stream flow velocities and lower flow energies,

causing sediments (Ashraf et.al., 1992).

2.5.1 Aquatic and riparian habitats

Sand harvesting causes habitat loss including destruction andfragmentation offragile,

endangered ecosystems and reduces species richness (See Myers, 1999, Global

Witness, 2010).

Effects directly related to sand harvesting and to changes in geomorphology include

increased sedimentation, turbidity, and bank full widths (Rosgen, 1996), higher

stream temperatures, reduced dissolved oxygen, lowered water table, decreased


1996;Meador and Layher, 1998; Bork, 1999; Roell, 1999;) and original research by

Kanehl and Lyons, 1992; Brown et al., 1998;). Channel geomorphology changes,

such as a wider and shallower streambed (Kanehl and Lyons, 1992; Brown et al.,

1998) may consequently result in increased stream temperature (Kondolf, 1997).

Although studies have shown differing results, chemical changes such as reduced

dissolved oxygen and changes in pH levels have been reported downstream of in

-stream harvesting areas (Nelson, 1993;Meador and Layher, 1998).

Loss of riparian habitat may result from direct removal of vegetation along the stream

bank to facilitate the use of a dragline or through the process of lowering the water

table, bank undercutting, and channel incision (KondoIf, 1997;Brown et al., 1998).

Sand harvesting imposes pressure on the biological communities thriving in the river

environments. The riparian zone acts as resting and nesting ground for many

migratory birds and the destruction of this valuable area affects those migratory birds

(Sreebha, 2010). Local channel changes propagate upstream or downstream and can

trigger lateral changes of the stream as well as the riparian zone. Alteration of the

riparian zone affects the physical and biological functioning of the stream (packer et



2.5.2 Drying of river banks and water aquifers.

Sand harvesting has several negative impacts. It poses a threat to water security in

severalways. Dredging results in lowering of the alluvial water tablewhich, in turn,

directly affects groundwater storage capacity (See Kondolf et al., 2001). Excessive

dredging allows for saline intrusion into groundwater (Viswanathan, 2002). The

lowered water table implies a rise in water costs, thus restricting access to onlythose


harvesting is a threat to water security resulting from loss of groundwater storage due

to lowering of alluvial water table. For example major rivers in India's Kerala district

such as Pampa and Manimala have been lowered with four to six metres. If sand

harvesting continues in India uncontrollably up to 2050, water table will drop to

approximately 2537 square metres. A lowered water table due to sand harvesting

causes water wells to dry, and people starving. Suspended solids affect domestic

water users downstream which increase treatment costs. Saviour (2012) also noted the

deterioration of water quality due to dissolved suspended materials and solids from

harvesting activities. Water quality can also be compromised by oil spills and

leakages from excavation machinery and transportation vehicles which may poison

aquatic life (Stebbins, 2006).

According to Bagchi (2010), there is contamination of sand aquifer water due to

formation of ponds as harvesters tend to dig on areas with thick sand bed creating

water ponds. Water accumulates in ponds combined with biodegradable materials

from flora and fauna wastes causing contamination. Besides, stagnant water on sand

extraction, ponds forms an environment conducive to mosquito breeding. LawaI

(2011) agreed with Bagchi on creation of pools as a result of harvesting which are

breeding sites for pests in Nigeria.

Destruction of land as a result of sand harvesting changes the land surface and this

affects the quantity and quality of water in aquifers (Welhan, 2001).Another effect of

sand harvesting on water is modification of the recharge area for groundwater by

changing the land surface, such as forming depressions sothat water no longer flows

along original pathways. Such changes may increase or decrease rainwater recharge to


re-directed flow paths may deplete total recharge of the aquifer (peckenham,

Thornton and Whalen, 2009).

Where a riverbed overlies deep alluvium or other erodible materials, and there is a

significant interruption in downstream supply of bed load, bed lowering can be

Substantial and this can in turn lower the groundwater table, which can variously

affect flood plain hydrology and habitat (Goodwin and others 1992; Evoy and

Holland 1989). A lowered groundwater table can kill riparian vegetation (Kondolf and

Curry 1986).

In many cases where bed lowering occurs, depending on vegetation and site

conditions, it may be slow enough for some riparian plants to colonize newly exposed

stream banks, this could change the age and species structure of riparian communities.

Groundwater lowering can also kill vegetation in floodplain wetlands and along

sloughs, where trees might play important roles in providing cover, shade, and a

supply of large wood for salmonid habitat (Kondolf and Curry 1986). Groundwater

table lowering can eliminate recharge to a stratigraphically higher aquifer or breach

and contaminate a lower aquifer. This could in turn affect a river's low-flow regime. Examples of the interplay of bed lowering and groundwater flow changes are Cache

Creek, California (Wahler 1981; Woodward-Clyde Consultants 1976; Collins and

Dunne 1990) and Russian River (Goodwin and others 1992). Evoy and Holland

(1989) includes a discussion of the interplay between groundwater change and bed

lowering. Where bed lowering is large, (meters to tens of meters), overbank flooding

can be virtually eliminated. This reduction in overbank flooding can reduce the supply

of organic-rich fine sediments to the floodplain, and could reduce the replenishment

of water to floodplain wetlands and sloughs and to aquifers. Reduction of overbank


water storage. Large amounts of lowering can also increase bank heights and induce

bank erosion and can cause tributary streambeds to erode.

Sand acts as a safe aquifer for water flowing below and through it.Removal of sand

results in destruction of underground aquifers and loss of safe water. Sand scooping

adversely affects surface water quality and quantity and damages the aquatic

ecosystem. Haulage of sand by heavy trucks causes environmental degradation by

accelerating soil erosion and affecting soil stability. Storage of sand causes

destruction of surface areas through clearing ofvegetation and uses landthat could be

used for agriculture (Mutisya, 2006).

2.5.3 Air pollution

Besides compacting land, heavy vehicles are a source of pollution to the villages near

harvesting sites. According to LawaI (2011), noise and air pollution occur as dust

accumulates from designated roads which are a reality to villages near harvesting

areas. There is general degrading of ecosystem in Nigeria. Air pollution caused by

dustparticles can be a health hazard causing respiratory disorders such as asthma and

irritation of lungs (Saviour, 2012). The sand is also extracted from rock blasting

which generate noise pollution. The ground vibrations produced can cause ground

tremors. Pereira (2012) realized that sand is dredged illegally twenty four hours aday,

all year round even during monsoons using mechanical dredgers in India. These

produce a lot of noise which hampers sleep and normal school operation hours.

Vibration noise generated from overburden excavation and transport is severe atnight

and is an annoyance to people.

According to Matt (2008), outdoor air pollution alone causes an estimated 800,000

deaths eachyear .especially in developing world. Dust from sand harvesting sites is a


major source of air pollution. Further Schaetz (1990) realized that sand harvesting

generate extra heavy vehicles and traffic, impairing negatively on the environment.

Heavy vehicles cause access roads on riparian zone and compact the ground.

Kuttipuran (2006) supported Schaetzl (1990) on formation of access roads on river

beds as heavy machinery and tipper trucks move to collection points. Some tracks are

caused bypedestrians. There is general destruction to roads and bridges. This effectis

felt more by villagers near harvesting sites as the continuous movement of heavy

vehicles cause problems to cattle posts, agricultural land, borehole and well users.

Noise pollution from the moving trucks ferrying sand is a nuisance and should be

controlled (Hans, 2006). Noise is a disturbance to the human environment that is

escalating at such a high rate that it will become a major threat to the quality of

human lives (Daniel, 2002). Although noise is a significant environmental problem, it

isoften difficult to quantify associated costs. According to Tsidzi and Adofo (1993)

noise in sand harvesting areas interfere with human activities such as sleep, speech

and hearing as well as stress-related diseases like hypertension.

2.5.4 Land Degradation and Vegetation Effects

Sand harvesting has been known to cause loss of livelihoods in several instances (See

Haering, 2008, Young and Griffith, 2009 and Viswanathan, 2002). Other

macroeconomic impacts have also been observed such as changes in land use patterns

(Myers 1999) and increased public health costs (Myers & Muhajir 1997, Mensah,


In terms of land degradation, surface sand harvesting, widely practiced today,

disfigures the topography and surface drainage leading to deforestation and soil


productivity (Tuff our, 1997).The principal cause of environmental impacts from

in-stream sand harvesting is the modification of channel characteristics especially the

removal of more material than the system can naturally replenish. Taking into

consideration the places of occurrences of the adverse environmental impacts of river

sand harvesting, Kitetu and Rowan (1997) classified the impacts broadly into two

categories namely off- site impacts and On-site impacts. The off-site impacts are,

primarily, transport related, whereas, the on-site impacts are generally channel related.

The on- site impacts are classified into excavation impacts and water supply impacts.

The impacts associated with excavation are channel bed lowering, migration of

excavated pits and undermining of structures, bank collapse, caving, bank erosion and

valley widening and channel instability. The impacts on water supply are reduced

ground water recharge to local aquifers, reduction in storage of water for people and

livestock especially during drought periods, contamination of water by oil, gasoline

and conflicts between harvesters and local communities. The reports show that

depletion of sand in the streambed and along coastal areas causes the deepening of

rivers and estuaries, and the enlargement of river mouths and coastal inlets. It may

also lead to saline-water intrusion from the nearby sea.

Further in-stream sand harvesting results in the destruction of aquatic and riparian

habitat through large changes in the channel morphology. Impacts include bed

degradation, bed coarsening, lowered water tables near the streambed, and channel

instability. In a recent study, it is reported that sand harvesting from the Achankovil

river in Kerala state in India; over the past few decades has caused notable changes in

the eco-biology of benthic communities (Sunil Kumar, 2002). It is well understood

that sand harvesting changes the physical characteristics of the river basin, disturbs


as the socio-economic conditions of the basin in general (UNEP 1990, Kundolf 1994a

&1997, Padmalal2001, Sunil Kumar 2002 and Padmalal et.al., 2003). Kundolf(l993)

reported that in-stream harvesting resulted in channel degradation and erosion, head

cutting, increased turbidity, stream bank erosion and sedimentation.

Removing sand may cause an increased gradient at the site of extraction increase the

gradient of the stream may cause upstream incision. Erosion caused by in-stream

harvesting can cause bank failure, which can cause loss of riparian habitat and loss of

shade along the stream banks (Meador and Layher, 1998).

Sand harvesting removes vegetation from the bar and adjacent bank, which can

increase water temperature (Beschta et al, 1987; Sullivan et al, 1990), although this

effect may be unimportant in most harvested rivers which are relatively wide.

Removing standing and downed trees on bars reduces the river's load of large woody

debris, which is important in creating habitat and supplying nutrients (Bisson etal,

1987,and Murphy and Meehan 1991), and in promoting vegetative colonization of

bars following the disruption of bars by floods (Abbe et al, 1993) which can create

and stabilize off-channel habitats. In-stream sand harvesting can result in channel bed

hardening, destabilization of spawning gravel and nursery habitat, increases in

suspended sediment load lowering of alluvial water tables ad stagnant low flows. All ,

-these impacts can result in major changes to aquatic and riparian habitat. Fine

sediments sand harvesting is one of the major environmental factors in the

degradation of stream fisheries (Waters, 1995).

As indicated by Sandecki (1989), such direct in-stream harvesting can alter the

channel geometry and bed elevation and may involve extensive clearing, diversion of


significant distortion of the channel morphology (Rinaldi et al., 2005), which often

causes silting as a result of erosion of the banks and consequent flooding, which may

worsen especially during high precipitation. Lorries which are used to transport the

sand disturb the vegetation and further exposes the area to erosion and harsh weather

conditions (Mossa & McLean, 1997).This can as well cause loss of the protection

provided by soil as it filters out pollutants (Kalbitz, Solinger, Park, Michalzik and &

Matzner, 2000; Rutherford, Chiou &Kile, 1992) and can further affect aquatic life in

such riverine areas.

2.6 Social impacts of sand harvesting

Social impact can be defined as the process of assessing or estimating, in advance, the

social consequences that are likely to follow from specific policy actions or project

development, particularly in the context of appropriate national, state, or provincial

environmental policy legislation. Social impacts include all social and cultural

consequences to human populations of any public or private actions that alter the

ways in which people live, work, play, relate to one another, organize to meet their

needs, and generally cope as members of society. Cultural impacts involve changes to

the norms, values, and beliefs of individuals that guide and rationalize their cognition

of themselves and their society (Burdge and Frank Vanclay, 2004).

Sand harvesting has potentially adverse impacts on the natural environment, society

and cultural heritage, the health and safety of sand harvesters, and communities based

in close proximity to operations (Moody and & Panos, 1997) and dislocation

(Akabzaa, 2000).

According to Tsidzi and Adofo (1993), noise in sand harvesting areas interferes with


disturbance is attributed to movement of Lorries in and out of the sand harvesting

sites (Andoh, 2002).

Sand harvesting and extraction does not only directly affect the biophysical

environment of rural communities but also indirectly affects the socio-economic and

socio-cultural environment of communities as well. Such social impacts range from

.health, conflicts, and problems related to drug use and alcoholism and other social

vices like robbery and divorce (Mutisya, 2006). Further, Mutisya (2006) asserts that

influx of both locals and expatriates into sand harvesting areas without their spouses

has fostered prostitution in such areas.

2.6.1Health impacts of sand harvesting

Most of the sand harvesting activities take place very close to communities and are

often abandoned after completion. During rainy seasons, the abandoned pits collect

water and as a result attract malaria parasites resulting in infection of community


Other diseases such as cholera, dysentery and diarrhea, among others, are associated

with the sand harvesting activities, since harvesting sites are often used as rubbish

dumping sites (Moody and Panos, 1997). Inhaling large amounts of dust from the

sand and sharing poor quality air in the sand harvesting sites are some of the major

causes of health hazards among harvesters. Spillage and leakage of fuels, oils from

lorries when harvesting sand in the rivers pollutes the water and these has a negative

health impact to the people who consume the water and even the livestock.

Ten people interviewed in harvesting area of East Konga ofIceland indicated loss or

reduction of farmlands as a major impact of sand harvesting. Other significant


breeding grounds for mosquitoes and spread of other. diseases, erosion and loss of

vegetation, loss of economically important trees, as well as roots of conflicts (Musah and Kjorn, 2007).

2.6.2 Conflict due to sand harvesting

A study in New England (Socolow, 1995) found that, the failure to plan for the protection and extraction of sand resources often results in increased consumer costs,

environmental damage and an adversarial relation between the aggregate industry and the community.

Again sand harvesting frequently generates land use conflicts in populated areas due to its negative externalities including noise, dust, truck traffic, pollution and visually

unpleasant landscapes (Willis and Garrod, 1999). It also can represent a conflict with competing land uses such as farming, especially in areas where high-value farmland is scarce and where post-harvesting restoration may not be feasible. As pointed out by social and environmental activists there are potential linkages between sand resources and conflict and consequential underdevelopment (Ross, 2001).

The rampant social conflict that exists in sand harvesting communities, the

widespread discontent in those communities is the result of their total or partial alienation from actively taking part in decisions affecting them believing falsely that planners or policy makers know best. Many sand harvesting communities feel cheated

by not taking part in decisions affecting their livelihood or not benefiting adequately


livelihoods in some sand harvesting communities. Mbathi, et al (2000) states that conflicts in sand harvesting communities arise from four main issues .:distribution of royalties, land use, resettlement and the survival of small-scale sand harvesters.

2.6.3 Drug and substance abuses

Drug use among workers, especially those in small-scale sand harvesting is on the increase as many of them believe that drugs such as bhang stimulate and help them to do the daunting and difficult jobs they found themselves in. Unfortunately, it is common to see some of them overusing drugs and causing problems in the community and in their families (Gichuki, et ai, 2000). Long hours of shift work in the harvesting areas have resulted in family dislocation and disintegration as well as musculo-skeletal disorders and alcoholism (Forson, 2002).

Unfortunately, although medical tests are conducted before employment is offered in many sand harvesting companies, many of them do not conduct periodic or exit medical examinations to ascertain the health status of their workers. Migration into sand harvesting communities and reduction in agricultural activities, largely attributable to large-scale sand harvesting has resulted in high food prices and rent for local inhabitants, especially those not working with the sand harvesting sites.


and hunter-gatherers throughout Africa maintain many traditional systems of

collective natural resource management which help to sustain the livelihoods and cultures of millions of people.

Over the past 30 years, public participation not only has produced decisions that are

responsive to community interests and values, but also has helped resolve user conflicts, In sustainable sand harvesting, natural resource management involves not

only agronomy but also.spatial and temporal scales and interdependences, on site and

oftsite effects, tradeoffs of different management options, the need to involve awide

range of stakeholders - often with conflicting interests - in collective action can't be

over emphasized (Cruz,1996).

All stakeholders should be involved in sand harvesting process because while the

principles of participation are universal, the practice of participatory planning and

management must take into account the values, communication patterns, knowledge and skills of all stakeholders. Stakeholders must also be defined broadly, in order to

capture a wide range of groups and individuals to manage the sand and reduce

conflicts in all sand harvesting sites(Nema, 2004).Ifparticipants feel the process was

fair and their inputs were used, it will ultimately enhance their compliance. In fact,it

has been demonstrated that the perception of legitimacy is linked to the participants' views of them and fairness of the process (Sutinen and Kuperan, 1999). Literature

reveals that participation enhances compliance because stakeholders are more

knowledgeable about; committed to and supportive.of regulations if they had asayin the process. Participation also leads to increased legitimacy, build trust, and educate


Table 4.4: Economic impacts of sand harvesting
Figure 1.1: Modified conceptual model for sand harvesting planning
Figure 3.1: The study area, Kivou Catchment in Mwingi, Kitui County
Figure 4.1: Gender status of the respondents in the study sites


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